NAMM 2013 VIDEO: Novation unveils the Launchkey range of MIDI controllers

NAMM 2013: Novation has unveiled the Launchkey range of MIDI devices - three new DAW controllers each featuring 16 velocity-sensitive pads, an assortment of knobs and faders, and a 25, 49 or 61 key synth-action keyboard.

The Launchkey 49 and 61 models each feature nine faders with solo/mute buttons, while the Launchkey 25 is stripped back to one master fader. All models have a three-digit LED display, transport controls, and pitch and mod wheels.

Each Launchkey controller ships with Ableton Live Lite, Novation's V-Station and Bass Station instruments and a pack of Loopmasters samples. Novation claims that the controllers will map seamlessly with all major music applications thanks to the company's InControl technology.

Interestingly, Novation has also announced a pair of compatible iPad apps: the Launchkey app - an iPad performance synth - and a Launchpad app for drag-and-drop looping and effects manipulation.

Launchkey 49 is due for release in March with an RRP of £139.99/$249.99. The Launchkey 25 and Launchkey 61 are both due to arrive in April, with RRPs of £99.99/$149.99 and £159.99/$249.99 respectively.

Novation Launchkey Press Release

Novation announces the creation of a powerful new hardware/software instrument: Launchkey. Based around a 25, 49 or 61 note keyboard controller with 16 velocity-sensitive multi-colour launch pads, Launchkey features the Launchkey app (an iPad performance synth) as well as a Launchpad app that provides drag-and-drop loop playback from the pads and real-time effects including stutter and filter effects. It also ships with a suite of software for Mac and PC including Novation's V-Station and Bass Station soft-synth plugins and Ableton Live Lite. Launchkey's 16 launch pads will also trigger clips and scenes in Ableton Live.

Launchkey is a fully featured DAW control surface with over 50 hardware controls (34 on the 25 note version). The 16 dual-colour backlit launch pads are velocity-sensitive and can be used to play drums and trigger loops. They also launch clips and scenes in Ableton Live. The result is more than a USB controller keyboard; it's a powerful integrated instrument with more hands-on control than any other device in its class. In addition to the integrated instrument functionality, standard MIDI control is also provided, making it an ideal partner for a DAW, giving you instant control of track volumes, panning, sends and other settings with Novation's InControl software integration system.

Launchkey at a glance

  • Fully integrated instrument controller for Mac, PC & iPad
  • InControl technology instantly maps the hardware to all major music software
  • 16 velocity-sensitive multi-colour launch pads - launch clips and scenes in Ableton Live
  • Synth-action keyboard with over 50 hardware controls (34 on 25 key version)

Three Launchkey models are available, with 25, 49 or 61 key velocity-sensitive synth-action keyboards. All feature 16 launch pads, two Launchpad control buttons and eight rotary controls. They also each have a 3-digit LED display, transport controls, pitch and modulation wheels, sustain pedal input, transpose buttons, and more. The Launchkey 25 includes a single assignable fader while the Launchkey 49 and 61 feature nine faders, with a backlit mode button and eight mute/solo buttons. In addition to software for Mac and PC, Launchkey integrates with two powerful iPad apps. The Launchkey synth app runs on iPad 2 or later and uses Novation synth engine technology in a new and intuitive touchscreen interface. Multiple synth parameters can be controlled at once to create unique effects, while hardware keyboard knobs tie directly into synth controls. The Launchpad app uses the hardware buttons to trigger loops and a range of performance effects including stutter and synced filter effects. Launchkey can connect to your iPad using a standard camera connection kit (not included) - this enables you to control your music apps.

Included Software with Launchkey 25, 49 and 61

  • Novation Launchkey app (for iPad)
  • Novation Launchpad app (for iPad)
  • Ableton Live Lite
  • Novation V-Station soft-synth
  • Novation Bass Station soft-synth
  • Loopmasters sample pack
Si Truss

I'm Editor-in-Chief of Music Technology, working with Future Music, Computer Music, Electronic Musician and MusicRadar. I've been messing around with music tech in various forms for over two decades. I've also spent the last 10 years forgetting how to play guitar. Find me in the chillout room at raves complaining that it's past my bedtime.